Mankind has always been fascinated by the beauty and wonder of the mighty whale, especially since the publication of Herman Melville’s classic about the Moby Dick, a sperm whale on a mission of revenge. Yet the very reason Melville was able to write his masterpiece of suspense was the very reason that he was among other seafarers hunting the great beast for its whale oil to be used in lamps. The awesome animal has been both revered and hunted by man.
While Hollywood has cast the whale as a ferocious marauder of the deep blue sea in countless horror movies alongside the occasional epic drama — occasionally with the whale playing the lead role — the people who know whales best appreciate them as mild-mannered, people-loving creatures that have a very strong family instinct to protect the members of its pod members.
While it is easy to think of them as majestic and graceful, thanks to so much TV coverage, it is truly a thing of wonder to experience those up close while out on the open sea in their natural habitat. Some weigh a ton or more, so it is mind-boggling to see them play in the depths, breach the surface with their awesome power yet land gracefully like a ballerina when it splashes the surface of the water. Such a sight is simply awesome.
For these and many other reasons, people must act now to save these ancient and intelligent creatures from extinction as a result of lost habitat and commercial whaling, which Japan is about to restart this year.
Why Whales Matter
Saving the whale also saves us. The whale lives in its own world it seems, but in reality, its world is directly related to our world. In many ways, our existence depends on the whale’s existence; as a consequence, the whale’s extinction may lead to our extinction. As the lion is the reputed king of the jungle, so too are whales the queens and kings of the world’s delicate seas and oceans. Like the lion, the whale is at the top of the ocean’s food chain. As such, the whale’s very presence does much to ensure that the eco-environment remains healthy and vibrant. In short, whales are indispensable. Therefore, it is our duty to protect them because they maintain the delicate balance of their watery playground.
Maintaining the Oceans’ Balance
For example, there are many kinds of whales. Some eat vegetation only, some eat krill only and others eat whatever they want to eat — who is going to fight with a healthy whale? Game. Set. Match. In that way, they keep certain species of fish and other marine life in check. No species can dominate another species because whales are there to referee the ecosystem, and unlike human refs, whales never make a wrong call. Another thing that is not well known is that by husbanding the world’s oceans and seas, whales impact the atmosphere by regulating the absorption of carbon within its watery environs. A representative of Project Lead said that because “whales eat carbon, not fish” the “deep ocean stores a lot of carbon,” according to Angela Martin. As a result, when whales discharge waste after a healthy meal, their waste product provides food for sea animals and fertilizer for plant life. Plants use carbon to produce photosynthesis. Plus a whale’s huge size helps to oxygenate the deeper waters and act as a giant mixing machine to stir up and mix nutrient throughout their swimming routines. Phytoplankton and other marine life feed on nutrients that have been pushed toward the surface, thanks to the mighty whale just swimming along, doing its thing.
Author: Anna Kurcirkova
Image source: Pexels.com